U.S. Army Awards And Decorations

The U.S. Army uses military awards and decorations to symbolize accomplishments by its soldiers for heroism in combat and noncombat-related duty.

The first medals and ribbons were issued to Army soldiers during the Civil War. These were unofficial awards given by individual commanders. The first official award established in the Army was the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is the highest medal of distinction.

A medal will not be awarded or presented to any individual whose entire service after the time of the distinguished act, achievement, or service has not been honorable. The determination of "honorable" is based on honest and faithful service according to the standards of conduct, courage, and duty required by law and customs of the service of a member of the grade to whom the standard is applied.

Medals are earned and received, not won. For example, someone who earns a Silver Star should be described as a Silver Star recipient.

Army Units and Individual Awards

The Army separates unit citations and awards from individual awards. Individual awards, medals, and badges are worn on the left side of the chest. Unit awards and citations are worn on the right side of the chest, above the name tag, and encased in a gold frame that wraps around the ribbon.

Army awards and decorations are approved according to the guidance contained in Army Regulation 600-8-22: Military Awards.

Rules for the proper wear of Army awards and decorations can be found in Army Regulation 670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms.

Individual awards are listed below:

​Unit awards are listed below: